If the real-life first family is a little too put-together for you, NBC would like you to meet the Gilchrists. Every Thursday night on “1600 Penn,” the fictional presidential clan faces everyday problems with a lot of heart and some zany antics thrown in for good measure.
Jenna Elfman, who stars as first lady Emily Nash Gilchrist, was pleasantly surprised by the role since she’s never had any political aspirations — onscreen or off. “Never in a million years did I ever see myself playing a first lady, so I was caught off-guard by the offer but very flattered,” she told MTV News. “It took some research and lots of thoughts and imagination.”
While she looks to Michelle Obama and Eleanor Roosevelt as inspiration for her FLOTUS, she has yet to actually speak to any real-life White House wives to get the lowdown on life at that famous Washington, D.C., address.
“You know, I don’t have a Rolodex full of first ladies. I don’t have them on speed dial, as it turns out,” she joked. “But President Obama recently hosted a screening of our of show at the White House, so we all got to tour the White House and meet the president and take a photo. I really wanted to meet Michelle, but she wasn’t there for that event. But … I’m going to meet her. The tour of the White House and the screening was certainly the icing on the cake.”
Elfman didn’t have the nerve to ask Obama for any presidential advice, “But for the photo, he’s like, ‘I’m gonna stand next to the first lady,’ ” she recalled. “It’s like he’s the president of the free world, I wasn’t going to be like, ‘Hey, give me some tips!’ If he wanted to invite us up to the residence … that would have been amazing. I’m so fascinated now [about it after] playing the first lady.”
But he did have some advice for Elfman and her TV hubby, Bill Pullman, on how to have a proper date night. “There’s a great episode [coming up]. Me and the president are trying to make sure we keep our marriage hot, so there’s this whole date night/sexcapade situation that’s really quite funny,” she said “They stayed in that night. There’s a bathtub scene and some kitchen cooking scenes, a lot of making out. We were joking with the real president, and he was talking about how everything got shut down when they tried to do a date night in New York. He’s like, ‘Yeah, I don’t think we’ll be doing that again.’ ”
So how should a president and his wife attempt to have a successful date night? “Just stay in,” Elfman suggested.